We are back from our family weekend getaway to San Antonio and it really was nice to get away, even if only for a couple of days. We stayed at the historic 150-year old Menger Hotel, located next to the Alamo and just two blocks from the Riverwalk.
The grounds are pretty and lush, including the quaint courtyard in the center of the hotel. You can relax outside in the rocking chairs or take a dip in the pool.
And inside the hotel, the Victorian decor is elaborate and ornate. Lots to look at and admire, especially the 3-story lobby.
Since we were there with James, we didn't make it to the bar, but it's a cool, old school vibe in there.
The Menger Hotel is right next door to the famous Alamo, one of the original Spanish missions in Texas and the site of one of the battles for Texas Independence. It's been restored and inside contains a to-scale replica of the site.
I snapped a pic of James and my husband outside the Alamo door, but all I could think about when I saw it is how much older James has gotten. He's just 5 1/2, but he's grown so much this summer! It seems like yesterday he was just a wee toddler. Now, he's such a big boy and I'm sure he'll be on his way to passing me up in height in no time.
Many of you have seen James grow up on the blog since I started it when he was only 4 months old. I appreciate you indulging me sharing him with you through the years.
The Riverwalk is walking distance from the hotel and is one of the main attractions in San Antonio. It's lined with shops and restaurants and great for just leisurely strolling, people watching, and taking it in. It can get pretty crowded though, so watch out!
We did the tourist thing and hopped on one of those tour boats for a 30-minute ride down the river.
And of course, we stopped for Mexican food along the Riverwalk at one of the restaurants lining the river.
That night, back at the hotel, there was time for some night swimming. It's so super hot in Texas right now, so getting wet is one of the only options for staying cool. There's a Haagen Dazs ice cream shop in the hotel, but we were so stuffed from dinner that we didn't make it.
The next day we ventured just north of downtown San Antonio to the Pearl Brewery area. It's a nice area to retreat to as it's much quieter and low-key than the packed Riverwalk area.
We ate lunch at the Boiler House and welcomed the opportunity to sit down in the AC.
After my big Mexican dinner the night before, a spinach salad was perfect for me. My husband got the burger topped with short ribs.
The Brewery has cute shops, restaurants, and coffee houses as well as a farmer's market with lots of fresh food and homemade sauces, soaps, and such.
Find a boy a train and you're good to go!
We were excited to try the local ice cream shop, Lick, where the ice cream is made with all natural ingredients.
Cute Edison lights with tied red wires.
At Lick, the menu of flavors are note cards on a magnet wall. I got the dark chocolate with olive oil and sea salt & the pecans and cream - so yummy!
Natural Bridge Caverns
In the afternoon, we headed to Natural Bridge Caverns, which upon arriving and seeing the long line, I had second thoughts about. I was telling my husband I think this was a bad call, but he assured me that's what families do on vacations- wait in long lines. I wasn't sold, but decided to make the best of it. Thankfully, the line went pretty quickly!
My photos inside the cavern didn't do it justice at all. It's wild to be in that space experiencing the enormous massive formations. And it was good exercise as you had to walk way down (180 feet) and then back up for the duration of the trail, which took about 45 minutes.
After all that time in the sun and then hiking through the cavern, it was time for a big late afternoon nap. We were wiped!
That evening, we drove to Market Stree (we could've walked the 20 minutes, but I think James was over walking in the heat and I don't blame him!). This area of town is very authenico with street vendors selling traditional Mexican food and housewares, clothing and jewelry. I love the colors and vibrancy of it all.
A great restaurant in the area is Mi Tierra. The wait was about 45 minutes, but you can just have a drink at the bar and people watch until your table is ready.
No Texas road trip is complete without a stop at Buc-ees. Y'all have heard me mention it before, but it's the perfect place to use the (clean) restroom, fill up on snacks, and just check out what's new in the decor/toy department.
I'm personally a big fan of their homemade fudge and always grab a piece while I'm there. You'll always find the men huddled around the Yeti coolers!
The Best Burger??
And being on I-10 with nothing but fast food restaurants around for miles sparked a debate between me and my husband about which fast food burger place is the best. He's adamant that Whataberger is king, which I've never really tried, coming from California and Ohio, but I told him everyone raves about In & Out burger (which I also have never tried- there's none in Houston).
But, while we were in San Antonio, we saw an In & Out Burger, so I figured this was my opportunity. The sweet guy taking my order recommended I order Animal Style (grilled onions), so I did. But, I have to say, I wasn't crazy about their special sauce. Am I crazy? I did appreciate their eat-on-the-road-box, that's pretty genius. But, I thought my bite of my husband's Whataburger actually tasted better.
Truth be told, I love the McDonald's Big Mac or just their small cheeseburgers (2 at a time). And I also like a Whopper with cheese. #thecaloriesdontcountontheroad ;)
What's your fave fast food burger?? Or have I totally grossed you out taking about fast food burgers?!
Our Summer Back Home
I know my summer has been slow in regards to home projects, but it's been full of love and lots of time with my son, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My son told me early on this summer that he didn't want to go to camp, but would rather stay home with me, so that's what we did. He did want to go to a Lego camp and Construction camp (few hours, 1 week each) that he really enjoyed, but other than that, it's just been us all day. In retrospect, I'm so glad he chose to be home because he's growing up so fast and I enjoy being around him. He starts kindergarten in just over a week and I know I'm gonna be a mess. I will miss him after being together so much.
This summer, we've had good times with cousins and on this particular day, James picked out his outfit, and when he proudly showed me what he wanted to wear, I said awesome! I know he'll get a kick out of looking back at these pictures in his "fancy shoes", tan socks, and cape. (By the way, that cape was given to him as a birthday party favor over a year ago. The mom made it with felt and put each child's initial on the back. She was happy to hear he was still wearing his.)
He loves playing DJ at home and this dance party lasted for hours! He also chose his outfit here.
Back at home, James wants to sleep in the king bed in the guest room lately, so we're converting that to his room. I'll be showing you progress on that soon. We were out recently getting some ideas at the home decor shops in town.
We've been to tons of coffee shops, vanilla milk for him, and have just been taking it easy most days and occasionally going to the pool.
This big Gorilla wall is outside of Catalina coffee on Washington. So cool.
I'm so proud of this little guy and the sweet, genuine person he is. I'm actually thankful that he wants to change his room because that will give me a project to start focusing on while he's starting school. It will be a great way to get back into the home decor swing of things and will hopefully keep me from feeling lonely while he's gone.
School is just around the corner. I'll be sad to retire James' cute, colorful clothes for his navy and khaki uniform, but if your kids are uniform-free, you can shop the cute looks below. ;)
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Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post and for keeping my son looking cute this summer!